There’s something comforting about holding a warm, steaming char siu bao (bun) in my hands. The scene usually goes something like this. I pick it up while it’s still burning hot. I go, “Hot, hot! Ouch, ouch, ouch!” and bounce the bao from hand to hand. Then I try to blow on it to cool it. And then I bite into it, usually burning my tongue because I’m such a pig. You get the picture.
So when I saw these Okami Bao in the refrigerated section at Costco on the last visit, it went straight into the cart. The package says Asian-style steamed buns so I’m thinking probably something like char siu bao.
I was eager to try these because when I checked out the ingredients on the back, pork was first on the list. Cool. The cooking instructions were pretty clear, steam or microwave.
Being lazy and all (what else is new?), I opted for the microwave version. And if that doesn’t produce good results, I’ll steam them (which will force me to dig through dark cavernous reaches in the cabinet where old kitchen items go to hybernate and spiders to roost).
There are 6 baos per package (I think), 2 packages total. I was pleasantly surprised how fresh the outside of the baos were, not hard or sticky from moisture. Being previously steam, it had that shiny, papery outside layer. The instructions said to microwave them in their black plastic container or loosely cover with plastic and nuke it for 90 minutes. I used the plastic container.
After 90 seconds, the microwave beeped and I was ready to do my hot bao dance. I flipped them onto a plate trying not to burn my fingers. Why I didn’t use tongs or chopsticks, who knows. Maybe steamed bao interferes with some part of my brain from functioning properly. (Don’t a lot of foods do that to your brain? Oh, you’re funny!)
Here’s a shot of the filling. Wow, the filling actually sort of looks like the picture on the box! I stared at the dissected bao for a lingering moment, just enjoying this rarity of a food product resembling its picture. But I didn’t linger too long. My stomach doesn’t allow much lingering.
The steamed dough was tender and fluffy for a re-heat. The texture is different, fresher, than the frozen baos I’ve gotten at Asian food stores. Definitely no freezer-burned, hard crusty dough here. The pork sort of tasted like char siu, slightly sweet. It’s nothing like what you would get at a dim sum place or a good Asian bakery. But hey, this is packaged food. There’s some other textures going on it there but I could definitely taste and identify the pork. I think I actually like these. The taste and texture is pretty darn good for a nuked bao and how can you beat 90 seconds for a hot, steaming bao? Huh? Huh?